The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity Hardcover – May 21 2012
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“The Blackwell Companions are a well-known and prestigious series that always form an up-to-date and high-quality entry to a certain academic domain ... My appreciation prevails and I believe this book really offers a most worthy introduction to the issue of science-Christianity relations. Congratulations to Stump and Padgett for putting together this valuable collection of well-written essays.” (Philosophia Reformata, 1 November 2015)
“As I said at the outset, this Blackwell Companion has proved itself to be an indispensable companion to me as I try to set out the current shape of the field for the third generation, but I cannot help but wonder how different such a volume will look in their time.” (Modern Believing, 1 January 2014)
“The result is a fascinating, rich collection of fifty-four essays grouped into eleven major sections . . . To sum up, this volume nicely complements other recent works in the ongoing interaction between science and religion. Students and teachers in the field will find this volume an accessible, reliable, and up-to-date resource for the contemporary discourse between science and Christianity.” (Themelios, 1 April 2013)
“For those who have such a background, this book will be a valuable asset for orienting themselves in the broader conversation.” (Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 1 March 2013)
“Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty.” (Choice, 1 December 2012)
The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity is a marvelous volume, with a wide-ranging roster of contributions from respected science-and-religion scholars. I commend Stump and Padgett for covering all the important bases, but also including a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
-Karl Giberson, author The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age (with Randall Stephens)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Inside this large collection of essays (54) is a smaller collection of really interesting and informative essays trying to get out.
Mikael Stenmark (Chapter 6) makes useful distinctions between religion & theology and between spectator rationality & agent rationality.
Richard Swinburne presents an excellent discussion of the role of natural theology in Chapter 11.
Stephan Barr's essay (Chapter 16) is a very good summary of modern cosmology and Christian theology .
Michael Ruse's essay (Chapter 22) on Darwinism and atheism is particularly well thought out and well written.
Simon Conway Morris's essay (Chapter 23) on creation and evolutionary convergence demonstrates how much his writing has improved since his 2003 book "Life's Solution," (not that it was poor then).
John Haught points out that biological evolution plus cosmology tells us much more than biological evolution alone in his essay (Chapter 26) on Christianity and human evolution.
Chapter 43, by Noreen Herzfeld, is a helpful discussion of Artificial Intelligence in the context of an analogy of humans trying to make computers in their own image, compared to God making humans in his image.
Chapter 46, by Alan G. Padgett, is a good introduction to the subject of miracles.
Chapter 47, by Robert John Russel, is an excellent summary of the current status of eschatology in science and theology, and options for going forward, focusing particularly on "the impasse between a cosmic future of `freeze or fry' and an eschatological future of new creation.
The obligatory pro- and anit-intelligent design essays are handled by Stephen Meyer and Francisco Ayala, respectively.
On the negative side, my impression of Paul Draper's essay on Christian theism and "indifference naturalism" (Chapter 27) favors IN over CT by begging the question and making unfounded assumptions. Draper makes a bunch of unsupported assumptions, then reaches the conclusions that he wanted to reach. His argument: assume that A > B, then A is > B. Repeat six times.
The book includes several essays by non-Christians. For example, Sean Carroll (the physicist) argues in Chapter 17 that the universe does not need God.
The last six essays are brief biographies of six significant figures in the field of science and Christianity: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas F. Torrance, Arthur Peacocke, Ian G. Barbour, Woldhart Pannenberg & John Polkinghorne. Christopher Knight's essay on Polkinghorne was particularly interesting because it pointed out some problem areas where Polkinghorne differs from other scientist-theologians.
Each essay ends with Notes, References, and Further Reading.
In summary, I found the book to be a mixture of excellent, so-so, and difficult-to-read essays.